After N. Korea nuclear threats, S. Korea vows ‘stern response’

September 16, 2015
Spokesman for the Unification Ministry Jeong Joon-hee (Yonhap)

Spokesman for the Unification Ministry Jeong Joon-hee (Yonhap)

By Kim Hyo-jin

The South Korean government vowed Wednesday to take stern action against North Korea’s threats to launch a missile or conduct a nuclear test, in tandem with the United States and the international community.

“A possible missile launch or nuclear test by North Korea is a serious provocation and military threat,” ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said during a press briefing.

He also stated that the North’s provocations are a clear violation of the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions.

“Seoul will sternly respond to them by collaborating with the international community. We are closely working together with the United States on the matter,” he said.

North Korea said Tuesday it is ready to use nuclear weapons “at any time,” citing its restarting of a reactor at its Yongbyon nuclear complex and the refurbishment of an enrichment facility.

On Monday, it also indicated a plan to launch a long-range rocket around the Oct. 10 founding anniversary of its Workers Party.

In response to the North’s provocations, South Korea is stepping up diplomatic efforts to seek international support to deter them.

Second Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul called on the international community to make joint efforts to denuclearize the isolated country, while attending an annual meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Tuesday.

“The international community should send Pyongyang a message with one voice that its nuclear program is unacceptable,” he said during a keynote speech at the IAEA meeting. “It is time to join forces using momentum gained from the Iranian nuclear deal.”

He urged Pyongyang to refrain from making nuclear provocations and to comply with the UN Security Council resolutions.

“The path North Korea should follow is clear. It should scrap all existing nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible way in accordance with the UN resolutions,” he said.

The vice minister met with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano on the sidelines of the session and asked for cooperation on monitoring the North’s nuclear activities.

In the meantime, South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy, Hwang Joon-kook, has been in New York since Sunday for meetings with ambassadors from the 15 member states of the Security Council.

Hwang is scheduled to meet with his U.S. counterpart Sung Kim, Wednesday (local time). North Korea’s recent threats are expected to be high on the agenda at their meeting.

He is expected to adjust the agenda beforehand in preparation for a scheduled summit between Seoul and Washington.

Meanwhile, Kim Gunn, who serves as director general for North Korean nuclear affairs and went to Washington with Hwang, flew to Beijing Wednesday.

He plans to attend a seminar held by the China Institute of International Studies to mark the 10th anniversary of Sept. 19 Joint Statement, once hailed as a historic deal on ending the North’s nuclear program.

He is also expected to seek cooperation from Beijing and ask China to take an active role.


  1. Zegota

    September 16, 2015 at 12:20 PM

    And why not, if Iran can have Nuclear power and likely a Nuclear bomb in your lifetime, why not North Korea, why not Saudi Arabia and a few other Muslim countries.
    Since there is no longer any serious objections from any democratic country, including the United States. If you actually honestly think that the Nuclear Deal with Iran was a good thing, you will have some serious guilt on your mind and explaining to do to your children. God Forgive Us.

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